Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US Vice President Mike Pence would discuss India-US defense cooperation and bilateral relationship during their meeting in Singapore next week, the White House said on Saturday.
During a press conference, a senior official told foreign journalists, “They would be talking about the bilateral relationship and defense cooperation in a larger context. I can’t really say if they’ll get into trade talks specifically at this time”.
Modi and Pence are scheduled to meet during the ASEAN and East Asia Summit in Singapore next week. Pence, who embarks on a four-nation Asia trip over the weekend, would visit Japan, Australia, Singapore, and Papua New Guinea. He will be representing President Donald Trump at the ASEAN and East Asia Summit in Singapore and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Papua New Guinea.
Responding to a question, the White House official said the two leaders would be talking about “a common vision” for maintaining what the US refers to a free and open Indo-Pacific as India has talked about the Act East policy and their “enormous convergence” in these two approaches.
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“we share, seeks to promote and sustain including a freedom of navigation and over-flight, sustainable development for the region; the importance of ASEAN and the role that they play, as well as a major democracy in the region that we have very good relations in common with like Japan,” the senior official said.
“Really the role for India (in Indo-Pacific region), the sky is the limit,” he added, when asked about what role the US sees for India in the region and President Trump’s Indo-Pacific policy.
He said that India is not only the dominant feature geographically, but also politically and culturally in the Indian Ocean. “With this administration, there is a significant increase in quality and tempo of interaction from the top leadership on down,” the White House official said.
Referring to the recent two plus two dialogue in New Delhi, he said Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had a “very, very good” meeting.